Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Milky Bar Kid

Gordon Brown must stay on because there is still much work to do. Such as dealing with this little beauty….

There are certain combinations of words and phrases which, when they’re placed together in a single sentence, somehow always manage to make my heart sink towards the earth’s fiery and demon-haunted core.

Specially extended and Jane Austen season are a typical pairing. Interrupt our regular programming and semi-finals form another; as indeed do premature and flaccid.

Police chiefs and scheme are right in there, too.

This is from the Blackpool Citizen.

POLICE bosses are offering officers a month’s supply of free chocolate in a new incentive scheme.
An MP has criticised the ‘staggering’ offer which he said amounted to ‘bribery’.
But police chiefs heralded the scheme as a success for getting people talking about the new policing pledge.
Posters, featuring a doctored Cadbury’s Wispa bar, have gone up in police stations across Lancashire promoting the offer.
They are designed to encourage officers to read the details of the new Government-led pledge on a intranet site, which sets out the force’s promises to the public.
It says: “Give us a taste of what the pledge means to you and win a month’s supply of chocolate!”
Those who take part are asked to read the 10 points contained in the pledge and then answer questions on the internal staff website.
The winner takes a chocolate bar of their choice a day for a month.

Ho ho ho. We can all giggle at the PC absurdity of this, and there’s more that I recommend you read. Now, maybe the police need a bit of fun, a bit of off-the wall trivia to keep themselves cheerful and enthusiastic in these dark days.
Inspector Gadget and others look like their dedication could do with the odd sugar rush as they try to keep the lid on it and live to tell the tale.

The offer has split opinion in Lancashire police stations, with some praising it and others labelling it childish....
One officer wrote: “If you want to bribe people into reading the policing pledge then you should not be offering chocolate.”
Another queried the cost and time of putting up the posters, while a third wrote: “I'm sick and tired of seeing these damn chocolate bars all over the police station.”
But another posting, claiming to be from the department behind the plan, said the campaign had worked because it got staff talking and denied it was ‘childish and unprofessional’.
It added: “We often get criticised for churning out the same old corporate stuff from HQ, so when we stray away from the norm to try and get some attention on an issue that is vitally important for the force.
"I am disappointed that some people can't support this approach.

Cut to the chase #1

“The campaign is aimed at getting staff talking about the pledge within the constabulary and logging onto our intranet site to find out more and plenty of people have.

Pledge? What pledge is that? The Drinkers in Blue have got off the Paddy Wagon and up on the water wagon, perhaps?

Cut to the chase # 2.

This pledge, dear reader;
The Policing Pledge, (not to be confused with the much more serious-minded The Sorting Hat.

Just in case you still believe that the officer who wrote The campaign is aimed at getting staff talking about the pledge within the constabulary was the stupidest public sector employee since records began, someone on a Civil Service pension actually tried to draw attention to it and to justify it. It’s
here. On the DirectGov website; HMG’s Window for the World.

‘All police forces across the whole of the England and Wales have signed up to provide the same level of service to their communities. This means that it will be easier to have your say on how they police your local area, and guarantees that wherever you live, you can expect the same, high level of service.’

Here comes the Pledge…


1. Always treat you fairly with dignity and respect ensuring you have fair access to our services at a time that is
reasonable and suitable for you.
2. Provide you with information so you know who your dedicated Neighbourhood Policing Team is, wherethey are based, how to contact them and how to work with them.
3. Ensure your Neighbourhood Policing Team and other police patrols are visible and on your patch at timeswhen they will be most effective and when you tell us you most need them. We will ensure your team are not taken away from neighbourhood business more than is absolutely necessary. They will spend at least 80% of their time visibly working in your neighbourhood, tackling your priorities. Staff turnover will be minimised.
4. Respond to every message directed to your Neighbourhood Policing Team within 24 hours and, where necessary, provide a more detailed response as soon as we can.
5. Aim to answer 999 calls within 10 seconds, deploying to emergencies immediately giving an estimated time of arrival, getting to you safely, and as quickly as possible. In urban areas, we will aim to get to you within 15 minutes and in rural areas within 20 minutes.
6. Answer all non-emergency calls promptly. If attendance is needed, send a patrol giving you an estimated time of arrival, and:
• If you are vulnerable or upset aim to be with you within 60 minutes.
• If you are calling about an issue that we have agreed with your community will be a neighbourhood
priority and attendance is required, we will aim to be with you within 60 minutes.
• Alternatively, if appropriate, we will make an appointment to see you at a time that fits in with your life and within 48 hours.
• If agreed that attendance is not necessary we will give you advice, answer your questions and/or put
you in touch with someone who can help.
7. Arrange regular public meetings to agree your priorities, at least once a month, giving you a chance to meetyour local team with other members of your community. These will include opportunities such as surgeries,street briefings and mobile police station visits which will be arranged to meet local needs and requirements.
8. Provide monthly updates on progress, and on local crime and policing issues. This will include the provision of crime maps, information on specific crimes and what happened to those brought to justice, details ofwhat action we and our partners are taking to make your neighbourhood safer and information on how your force is performing.
9. If you have been a victim of crime agree with you how often you would like to be kept informed of
progress in your case and for how long. You have the right to be kept informed at least every month if you wish and for as long as is reasonable.
10. Acknowledge any dissatisfaction with the service you have received within 24 hours of reporting it to us. To help us fully resolve the matter, discuss with you how it will be handled, give you an opportunity to talk in person to someone about your concerns and agree with you what will be done about them and how quickly.
We want to do our best for you but if we fail to met our Pledge we wil always explain why it has not ben posible on that ocasion to deliver the high standards to which we aspire and you deserve.

Good Lord.

This has to be the final victory of the Bureaucratic Borg Mentality standing triumphant over a cringing and utterly defeated Planet Reality.

Shorn of its 21st Century touch-feely jargon and despite Her Majesty’s Government’s unwillingness to employ spin doctors who can use a spell-checker – and how well does that run in ordering pharmaceuticals for the NHS, or armoured personnel carriers for the Armed Forces, I wonder? -, and boiled down to remove the obvious middle-management beaulieux, pardon my French, and the terrible response-time targets, how different is the above Pledge from something like old-fashioned street policing from local coppers who knew their jobs and working out of a local nick?

What has it taken; what folly, what waste of resources, what politically-motivated squandering of common sense and policing experience, what abandonment of long-evolved training routines and a century and a half of police force organization and good practice to produce a Home Office/MinJust prepared to boast about its promise to encourage police forces to read a document that commits the officers concerned to think really hard about doing their jobs?

Is that the villain of the piece? Is it that the leaders now have to shove chocolate goodness at policemen because they need to remind them what other leaders have trained and indoctrinated and personel-managementally developed and ignored reality and neglected out of them? Read the blogs above - I don’t think that you’ll think that all duty and sense and dedication have gone from below the famous blue helmet…

Maybe it is needful despite that, but in another way.
Maybe they’re busy doing something else – maybe they’re being directed to do something other than supporting law abiding citizens and pursue criminals relentlessly to keep them and their neighbourhoods safe from harm when they missed out on slamming these
two known maniacs back in the slammer.

Dano Sonnex and Nigel Farmer have been jailed for life for the murders of French students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez…
Police failed to enforce an arrest warrant for 16 days, despite Sonnex being notorious in the local community, while officers passed his case file from desk-to-desk.

The police weren’t all alone in this litany of failure, missing documents, and non-existent communication - far from it as other agencies and individuals were involved all along the line - but some police officers (and quite senior ones I’d guess) would have been given fancy titles and desks and PCs and ‘resources’ to organize, plan, record, oversee,and add value to the police input into probation cases. And they didn’t do their jobs.

Maybe they were writing pledges.
Or handing out chocolate bars.

So maybe the Chief Paymaster of ten years, and for the past two years The Great Leader: the All-seeing Statesman, Brilliant Economist, Supreme Diplomat: Unequalled Scholar; Mighty Poet and Landscape Gardener and Father Of His People might look up from his perfect position atop our economy where he is planning even now bring Britain out of its foreign-made recession and consider the possibility of thinking about inviting some senior coppers to enable their front-line officers to have the chance to put into place forward-looking strategies to sometimes prevent know psychos from slaughtering students.

Who knows – do you think it might be Gordie's last chance of an approving place in the history-books?

No. Me neither.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

This has to be the final victory of the Bureaucratic Borg Mentality standing triumphant over a cringing and utterly defeated Planet Reality.

That's one way of looking at it.


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